We train our employees to grow within MDI or find jobs beyond our organization. In the latter efforts, we sometimes encounter worry and reluctance to hire these workers. But more often, I hear praise from a customer whose fears and stereotypes have been shattered after they've hired one of our workers or seen them in action. Ninety-four percent of customers surveyed said our employees with disabilities met or exceeded their performance and quality standards.
At MDI, people with and without disabilities work side by side, producing the best possible products for our customers. People with disabilities successfully operate plastic extruders, run gantry robots and work on a variety of automated process equipment, such as assembly systems and boxing machines.
We compete with private, for-profit companies, and we are certified to meet ISO 9001 standards.
As of October 2016, 260 of our 521 employees were people with disabilities fulfilling production jobs. Few required workplace accommodations.
Nga Reh, a refugee from Burma, joined MDI in 2012 as a welder. He wears a leg prosthesis and deals with chronic pain as a result of stepping on a landmine at the age of 21. His job with MDI was his first in the U.S. Today, he enjoys the variety of assembly and manufacturing work on the production floor.
Nga and others like him are gaining financial independence, easing the burden on our state and federal agencies, and giving back to their communities. They are also contributing to their employer's bottom line.
Our employees and those we place with other employers know what's expected of them: to be on time, to work well with others, and to meet their employer's quality and production goals.
If a new hire with disabilities does need specialized training, skills development or added support, services are readily available - and often at no cost to employers. Employers can access services through a variety of state, federal or nonprofit entities, including these:
Employers can meet their diversity and social responsibility goals by practicing the ADA fair employment standards and increase productivity with a fully staffed workplace. They can also earn federal tax credits and incentives to help cover any potential accommodation costs, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
At MDI, inclusive hiring has had a powerfully positive impact on our culture. Not only do our employees with disabilities appreciate their jobs, but they bring incredible energy and a positive spirit to work every day: 95 percent of workers surveyed say they like working at MDI. Our low turnover rates and high product-quality metrics support these numbers.
It's time to acknowledge people with disabilities are extremely able workers. MDI is a better organization because of them.